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First-quarter GDP estimates could rise as February trade deficit narrows sharply


A spotter lines up a truck before a container is loaded a ship in the Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

A spotter lines up a truck before a container is loaded a ship in the Seagirt Marine Terminal at the Port of Baltimore in Baltimore, Maryland.

The U.S. goods trade deficit narrowed sharply in February, and inventories increased, which could prompt economists to raise their estimates for first-quarter gross domestic product.

The Commerce Department said in its advance economic indicators report on Tuesday that the goods deficit fell 5.9 percent to $64.8 billion last month as a decline imports outpaced a drop in exports.

The weakness in imports is in line with a recent moderation in consumer spending. The government also said inventories at retailers increased 0.4 percent last month to $616.1 billion, and stocks at wholesalers rose 0.4 percent to $594.1 billion.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting GDP will show a 1.0 percent annualized expansion rate in the first quarter. The economy grew at a 1.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter.

The U.S. goods trade deficit narrowed sharply in February, and inventories increased, which could prompt economists to raise their estimates for first-quarter gross domestic product.

The Commerce Department said in its advance economic indicators report on Tuesday that the goods deficit fell 5.9 percent to $64.8 billion last month as a decline imports outpaced a drop in exports.

The weakness in imports is in line with a recent moderation in consumer spending. The government also said inventories at retailers increased 0.4 percent last month to $616.1 billion, and stocks at wholesalers rose 0.4 percent to $594.1 billion.

The Atlanta Federal Reserve is forecasting GDP will show a 1.0 percent annualized expansion rate in the first quarter. The economy grew at a 1.9 percent pace in the fourth quarter.



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